By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
Each member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is an owner of the properties constructed and maintained by the tribe. These buildings are constructed to be of service to the community. The people not only have an awareness or appreciation for the services rendered from these buildings, they celebrate with each new building or structure.
There are some members of the community that do not share the reverence or care about those investments for their future. Usually around springtime, those who are ignorant of the consequences or have malicious intent, vandalize restroom facilities, deface government building walls, destroy tribal vehicles and desecrate public area and memorials.
Ironically, some of the people who are damaging and destroying property are the ones who complain the loudest when a service is not being provided to them. They don’t see the connection between the money that must be wasted to repair the damage that they do and the lack of funds for needed or desired programs and services. They fail to understand that they are defacing their own property.
Some of the graffiti included in this damage to buildings would be considered fine artwork and, in the proper place, would be a welcome addition to the great arts and crafts that are regularly displayed in galleries.
The community must educate its peers and be vigilant to control the vandalism and damage to tribal property. There are much more productive and effective ways to express artistic talent or to voice opinions than to deface public or private property. The hope of the community is to leave a lasting and significant inheritance for the generations to come.